In order to implement the outcome of the Conference on the Future of Europe, treaty changes are needed. In June 2022, the Parliament had adopted a resolution calling on the European Council to start this process. In the meanwhile, the assembly is also preparing its own proposal on how to amend the Treaties.
At its 30 November meeting, the Parliament’s Committee of Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) adopted its opinion regarding this proposal, which has been submitted to the committee in charge of the file: the Constitutional Affairs’ Committee. These amendments reinforce the citizens' demand to work structurally for a stronger social Europe.
The EU should ensure “a sustainable, fair and inclusive Europe where social rights are protected and safeguarded at least at the same level as economic freedoms”, the opinion writes. Tools to this effect should include integrating the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Treaties and fully implementing it and the Porto targets. Other tools include incorporating social progress in Article 9 TFEU and adopting a Sustainable Development and Social Progress Pact to make social and sustainable targets mandatory.
The Employment Committee also ask to move away from unanimity and towards the ordinary legislative procedure to enable action in the social field, while safeguarding and strengthening the role of social partners. This means that more social policy areas would fall under the qualified majority decision process, including non-discrimination, social protection of workers, combating social exclusion, protection of workers whose employment contracts have been terminated, the representation and collective defence of the interests of workers and employers and conditions of employment of third-country nationals.
The EMPL Committee also wants enough money to be allocated to support employment and social policies. It therefore calls for a dedicated crisis response mechanism in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and reminds that EU funds should benefit all disadvantaged groups. Therefore, we need an economic governance that people’s well-being is the objective of economic policies, the opinion writes.
 In defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, and a high level of education, training and protection of human health. (art. 9 TFEU)